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Tajikistan Seeks Arrest Of Prominent Opposition Journalist


Dodojon Atoullo

Dodojon Atoullo

The Tajik Interior Ministry has issued an issued an arrest warrant for Dodojon Atoullo, a prominent opposition journalist, on charges of insulting the Tajik president and "calling for the overthrow of the constitutional system."

Atoullo is the editor of the online opposition newspaper "Charoh-i Ruz," the founder of an organization of Tajiks in Russia, Vatandor, and a sharp critic of the policies of President Emomali Rahmon. He claims that many former politicians, intellectuals, and political opponents of Rahmon have joined his opposition movement.

At a press conference in Moscow in June 2008, Atoullo sharply criticized the Tajik government for what he said was pervasive corruption and nepotism, and its inaction in dealing with poor social conditions. Earlier this year, he said that Tajikistan was on the verge of a new civil war. After Atoullo's latest press conference, the Tajik prosecutor-general called him an "information terrorist" who is implementing orders from abroad, and vowed to open a criminal case against him.

Although the Tajik government has opened a case, it has yet to request Atoullo's extradition from Russian, a move that would depend on diplomatic considerations between the two governments.

Atoullo was among the first journalists to establish an opposition newspaper in independent Tajikistan, but he was forced to leave the country after Tajikistan's civil war in the early 1990s, and is based in Russia. Recent articles in the online publication have focused on Rahmon's business holdings and government scandals, including a lawsuit in London involving the state-owned TalCo aluminum plant.

(by Khiromon Bakoeva of RFE/RL's Tajik Service)

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